KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party leader Faryal Talpur on Friday obtained interim pre-arrest bail in a case pertaining to Rs4.14 billion alleged money laundering registered by the Federal Investigation Agency.

Judge Tariq Mehmood Khosa of the special court (offences in banks) ordered the PPP leader, who recently won election from Sindh Assembly constituency PS-10 (Larkana-I), to furnish surety bonds of Rs2 million. The court also issued a notice to the FIA prosecutor to submit his reply till August 11, when the bail plea was fixed for confirmation or otherwise.

Ms Talpur surrendered before the trial court on Friday as her six-day protective bail granted by the Sindh High Court’s Larkana circuit on July 23 was due to expire on Saturday.

Her counsel Farooq H. Naek submitted that the PPP leader wanted to surrender before the trial court and join the trial proceedings, but apprehended her arrest at the hands of the FIA. Therefore, the court was pleaded to grant pre-arrest bail in order to enable the applicant to surrender and join the trial proceedings.

Earlier this month the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s former chairman Hussain Lawai and banker Taha Raza were detained and booked for allegedly facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, through which suspicious transactions were made to different companies including M/s Zardari Group.

Last week, the investigating officer filed an interim charge sheet in the court showing 20 beneficiaries, including PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others as absconders in the case.

It alleged that one bank account titled A-One International maintained in the Summit Bank’s Khayaban-i-Tanzeem branch in Karachi, was used for suspicious transactions amounting to Rs4.14bn in accounts of different companies.

“Subsequently, this bank account was used to place illegitimate funds for the purpose of money laundering,” it said, adding that the account statement showed that during a short span of 10 months (from March 6, 2014 to Jan 12, 2015) a sum of Rs4.145bn was credited and routed through this account.

It further mentioned that the said amount was transferred to 13 different business entities, including the Zardari Group — a company owned by Mr Zardari and Ms Faryal — which received Rs15m.

It disclosed that the largest amount of Rs2.492bn was transferred to the account of a UAE national, Nasser Abdullah Lootah, then vice-chairman and present chairman of Summit Bank. It further showed that the second biggest transaction of Rs73.782m was made to the account of M/s Ansari Sugar Mills, while Rs5m was transferred to M/s Omni Polymer Packages (Pvt) Ltd.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018